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Global Trends 2008

Global Trends 2008

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Published by UNHCR

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Published by: UNHCR on Jun 04, 2012
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Somali refugees wait to receive food rations at the Hagadera refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya.
UNHCR/ E. Hockstein
2008 Global Trends:
Refugees, Asylum-seekers, Returnees,Internally Displaced and Stateless Persons
16 June 2009
2008 Global Trends
There were some 42 million forcibly displaced people worldwide at the end of 2008.This includes 15.2 million refugees, 827,000 asylum-seekers (pending cases) and 26million internally displaced persons (IDPs).
 Nearly 25 million people 10.5 million refugees and 14.4 million IDPs werereceiving protection or assistance from UNHCR at the end of 2008. These numbersare similar to 2007.
In 2008, UNHCR identified some 6.6 million stateless persons in 58 countries. TheOffice estimated that the overall number of stateless persons worldwide was far higher, about 12 million people.
Some 604,000 refugees repatriatedvoluntarily during 2008. Repatriation figures havecontinued to decrease since 2004. The 2008 figure is the second-lowest in 15 years.
More than 839,000 people submitted an individual application for asylum or refugeestatus in 2008. UNHCR offices registered nine per cent of those claims. More than16,300 asylum applications were lodged by unaccompanied and separated children in68 countries. With one quarter of applications globally, South Africa is the largestrecipient of individual applications in the world.
UNHCR presented 121,000 refugees for resettlement consideration by States. Morethan 67,000 refugees were resettled with UNHCR’s assistance during 2008.According to Government statistics, 16 countries reported the admission of 88,800resettled refugees during 2008 (with or without UNHCR assistance). The UnitedStates of America accepted the highest number (60,200 during its Fiscal Year).
Women and girls represent on average 49 per cent of persons of concern to UNHCR.They constitute 47 per cent of refugees and asylum-seekers, and half of all IDPs andreturnees (refugees). Forty-four per cent of refugees and asylum-seekers are children below 18 years of age.
Developing countries are host to four fifths of the world’s refugees. Based on the dataavailable for 8.8 million refugees, UNHCR estimates that half of the world’s refugeesreside in urban areas and one third in camps. However, seven out of ten refugees insub-Saharan Africa reside in camps.
Pakistan is host to the largest number of refugees worldwide (1.8 million), followed by the Syrian Arab Republic (1.1 million) and the Islamic Republic of Iran (980,000).
Afghan and Iraqi refugees account for almost half of all refugees under UNHCR’sresponsibility worldwide. One out of four refugees in the world is from Afghanistan(2.8 million) and Afghans are located in 69 different asylum countries. Iraqis are thesecond largest refugee group, with 1.9 million having sought refuge mainly inneighbouring countries.
Pakistan hosted the largest number ofrefugees in relation to its economic capacity.The country hosted 733 refugees per 1 USD GDP (PPP) per capita. It was followed bythe Democratic Republic of the Congo (496 refugees per 1 USD GDP (PPP) per capita) and the United Republic of Tanzania (262). The first developed country isGermany at 26
place with 16 refugees per 1 USD GDP (PPP) per capita.
2008 Global Trends
I. Introduction
Forced population displacement has grown in size and complexity in recent years, and the
2008Global Trends
report reflects many of the major humanitarian developments between Januaryand December 2008. The report analyses the statistical trends and changes in the global populations for whom UNHCR has been entrusted with a responsibility by the United NationsGeneral Assembly. These include refugees, returnees, stateless persons and certain groups of internally displaced persons (IDPs), collectively referred to in this report as “persons of concern”.The outbreak, renewal and prolongation of armed conflict had a negative impact on peace,stability and security in many regions of the world during 2008, often resulting in the movementof people within and outside their home countries. While millions were newly displaced duringthe past year, millions of others were able to return home or found another durable solution.Despite UNHCR’s efforts to finddurable solutions during 2008, thetotal number of refugees andIDPs under its care remained highat roughly 25 million, almostunchanged compared to 2007,and together accounted for aboutthree quarters of all people fallingunder the UNHCR mandate.Available information suggeststhere were 42 million forcibly displaced people worldwide at the end of 2008.
This figureincludes 15.2 million refugees, of whom 10.5 million fall under UNHCR’s mandate and some4.7 million Palestinian refugees under the responsibility of the United Nations Relief and WorksAgency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The total number of peopledisplaced within their country as a result of armed conflict is estimated at 26 million
, of whom just over half are protected or assisted by UNHCR. The number of people whose asylumapplications had not yet been adjudicated by the end of the reporting period was estimated at827,000.Throughout the year, the Office extended the full range of its protection and assistance activitiesto refugees. At the same time, UNHCR, as a committed partner in the framework of sharedresponsibility established under the inter-agency cluster approach
, continued to expand the protection and assistance provided to internally displaced persons.The 2008 statistics suggest that the large-scale repatriation movements observed in the past havedecelerated. Return figures have continuously dropped since 2004 and current levels are amongthe lowest in decades. However, UNHCR’s efforts for securing alternative solutions such asresettlement are gaining new ground.
This report has been prepared by the Field Information and Coordination Support Section (FICSS), Division of OperationalServices at UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva. Any questions concerning the report should be addressed to FICSS atstats@unhcr.org. Visit also UNHCR’s Statistical Online Population Database athttp://www.unhcr.org/statistics.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that there are an additional 25million people who have been displaced due to natural disasters. See
 Forced Migration Review #20
,http://www.fmreview.org/FMRpdfs/FMR20/FMR2021.pdf .
Source: Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).
In December 2005, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee endorsed the
Cluster Approach
for situations of internaldisplacement. Under this arrangement, UNHCR assumes leadership responsibility and accountability for three of the nine“clusters”, namely: protection; emergency shelter; and camp coordination and camp management.
2007 (in mln)2008 (in mln)TotalProtected/assisted byUNHCRTotalProtected/assisted byUNHCR
Refugees under UNHCR mandate11.411.410.510.5Refugees under UNRWA mandate4.6-4.7- 
Total number of refugees16.011.415.210.5
 Asylum-seekers (pending cases) IDPs26.013.726.014.4
Total number of refugees, asylum-seekers and IDPs42.725.242.025.1Category of displaced population

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